Lane's early work struggles to find a sincere language. He tries out modes of speech, tones, roles. There is a hostile/aggressive/macho touch even where he tries for the lyric—bravado substituting for feeling—and an occasional line or poem which learns, under the impetus of betrayal/anger, to say what it means. (p. 26)
His devices, clumsy at first, are sound. They teach him structure, how a change in syntax, the substitution of a word in a familiar phrase, or the reversal of normal perspective, can make something new…. The language gains independence. It has its own drive apart from anything the poet knows he knows. Lane discovers how to elicit meaningful connections (rather than the strained,...
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